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(p. 43) How Microaggressions Are Harmful 

(p. 43) How Microaggressions Are Harmful
(p. 43) How Microaggressions Are Harmful

Monnica T. Williams

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date: 29 June 2022

Abstract: This chapter discusses the research regarding microaggressions and negative mental health outcomes. Microaggressions are associated with increased stress, increased physical ailments such as hypertension and impaired immune responses, increased depression and depressive symptoms, lower self-esteem and self-efficacy, increased alcohol abuse and binge drinking, substance use disorders, increased post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, higher levels of suicidal ideation, increased anxiety, increased somatic symptoms and negative affect, and increased obsessive–compulsive disorder symptoms. Overall, those who experience everyday discrimination have higher odds of any lifetime mental health issue. This is illustrated using a case example of a student who developed depression and anxiety from experiencing microaggressions in school, leading to a negative impact on mental health. The chapter presents an example interaction between a client and a therapist illustrating that microaggressions can be harmful to White people as well in indirect ways. Furthermore, to address mental health disparities and treatment barriers as a result of various pathways including microaggressions, clinicians need to address their own possible implicit biases that can lead to perpetuating these problems.

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